Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Keel-billed Toucan

Keel-billed Toucan aka. Sulfur-breasted Toucan aka. Rainbow-billed Toucan
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Member of the Toucan Family
§A Rookery of Toucans§

National Bird of Belize

~true bird fact~ So what's the deal with the way this bird looks? Well, he's got a very specific environmental niche and he's basically built from head to toe to take advantage of it. Toucans are jungle birds and as such are built to fly only short distances (hence their short wings), spend a lot of time in trees (they have two toes facing backward and two facing forward, an uncommon adaptation known as zyglodactylic feet), and eat lots of fruit (that bill). It's about as long as the rest of his whole body and it gives him an advantage in reaching into the hollows of trees as well as plucking hard to get fruit. But that's not all! It's much, much lighter than it looks and extremely strong. Toucans use it for social play (mock dueling and throwing fruit to one another). Because of the unusual porous structure of the keratin that makes up the bill, it's also good for regulating body temperatures. Also, it's not a 'nose' and toucans don't 'follow' it to 'fruit loops'.

A really good friend. You want to be better friends with him right away because he seems like such a great guy
Can always find a new way to look at something
Questionable taste in women
That whole bill thing might be fake

PSA- In keeping with the integrity of this blog, I will point out that this guy was spotted not in the wild, but (clearly) in an animal shelter. Therefor he 'does not count' for birding purposes. Still, I think he's cool enough that he's worth bringing to you, the reader. Love this toucan you guys, cause it's the only one you've got. Don't question a good thing.

Also, he is not a parrot. I screwed up my 'parrot month' thing by posting the first parrot too early. He's kinda on theme still, I think.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blue and Yellow Macaw

Blue and Yellow Macaw (aka. Blue and Gold Macaw)

Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Member of the Parrot Family
§A flock of macaws§

~true bird fact~ Nests almost exclusively in dead palm trees. Good thing he's found such a comfortable place to live, since he mates for life and is extraordinarily long-lived (up to 8o years!)

Looks a little out of place, but in a fashionable way. Has a timelessness about him
Will readily get into a fight if it is to defend something he believes in
Keeps his emotions to himself
Poor technological knowledge

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Red-masked Parakeet

Red-masked Parakeet aka. Cherry-headed Conure
San Francisco, California, USA
Member of the Parrot Family
§A Chatter of Parakeets§

~true bird fact~ These parakeets are not native to San Francisco, rather famously so. They are feralized populations of escaped pets. Groups like this have established themselves not only in San Francisco, but in Spain, Hawaii, Florida, Mexico, and Texas. Although none of these populations have yet been around long enough to be considered 'established', they are doing well and growing in size, living off the fruits of the palm trees and other tropical vegetation that are commonly cultivated in these places. Another bird that has managed to thrive on the unthinking hubris of human beings.

How endangered are they? Despite all those succeeding invasive populations, Red-masked Parakeets are considered Near Threatened by the International Union on the Conservation of Nature in their native Peru and Ecuador. It is estimated that there are less than 10,000 of these birds there, and populations are declining due to poaching and habitat loss. Again folks, do these birds a favor and do not take them in as pets. Just enjoy them for what they are.

Enthusiastic for fairly mundane things
Likes weird, gimmicky candies (ie. pop rocks, astronaut ice-cream)
This bird loves the 90's!
Sometimes gets so involved in in doing one thing that they don't notice anything else going on around them

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Member of the Parrot Family
The National Bird of Honduras

~true bird fact~ The jungle is a difficult place to try and get a bite to eat. Many of the fruits that make up the macaw's diet are poisonous. To counteract this, macaws eat river-bank mud which neutralizes the toxins. You can often find large groups of tropical birds at such 'clay licks', as they visit them nearly every day. Some scientists believe the macaws eat the clay not for its absorptive qualities, but because it contains sodium, generally rare in the rainforest.. Who knows, maybe they just love to eat clay.

A big celebrity, but down to earth
Has a lot more going on mentally than most people assume
Only really trusts his family
Once had a drug problem

*Bird PSA* Do not buy a pet Scarlet Macaw. They are intelligent and social birds who communicate and travel in large flocks and mate for life. They don't belong in a cage. The illegal pet trade has caused local extinctions in many areas, and although they are still common enough in South America to not be considered endangered, their range is shrinking all the time from habitat loss and poaching. Thanks guys!